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Rare Cases of Plague in Humans: Why the US Sees About 7 Instances a Year | WGN Radio 720

Exploring the Return of the Plague: Investigating a Suspected Case in Colorado

Title: Colorado Health Officials Investigating Suspected Case of Bubonic Plague in Human

In a rare occurrence, Colorado health officials are currently investigating a suspected case of the bubonic plague in a human. The plague, a rare bacterial infection infamous for causing mass casualties in 14th-century Europe, is now easily treatable with antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are around seven human cases of the plague reported each year in the U.S. Earlier this year, officials in Oregon reported a case of the plague in a person who likely contracted it from their sick cat.

The bubonic plague is the most common form of the bacterial infection, typically spread among rodents like prairie dogs and rats. Other forms of the plague include septicemic plague, which affects the whole body, and pneumonic plague, which infects the lungs.

Symptoms of the plague include painfully swollen lymph nodes, high fever, chills, headaches, and pain in the abdomen, legs, and arms. The bacteria is transmitted through the bites of infected fleas, which can spread it between rodents, pets, and humans.

While the plague is most endemic in certain regions of the U.S. and worldwide, health experts emphasize the importance of early treatment with antibiotics to prevent the potentially deadly consequences of the disease.

Prevention measures include keeping areas clear of debris to reduce the risk of attracting rodents, ensuring pets are up to date on flea treatments, and using bug spray with DEET when outdoors to ward off disease-spreading pests. Though a vaccine exists for the plague, it is only recommended for high-risk individuals like healthcare workers.

Overall, while the bubonic plague continues to exist, advancements in treatment and prevention have significantly reduced the threat it poses to public health. Additional research is needed to develop a vaccine that can offer broader protection against all forms of the plague.

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